Thursday, January 27, 1994   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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Recently, as I was boarding a plane, the gate attendant took our passes and said to each of us: "Goodbye."

"Goodbye?" How about: "Good trip," or "Happy Landings"? "Goodbye" sounds so . . . well, terminal.

But "goodbye" might be appropriate if the Transportation Department succeeds in pushing its privatization schemes on America's airways and highways.

Jim Hightower warning: Look out! The transportation czars have got it in their little pointy heads that turning the air-traffic controllers and the operation of our interstates over to corporations is just the ticket to make both systems run in [quote] "a more businesslike manner."

Yeah, maybe as "businesslike" as Frank Lorenzo, who ran Texas Air, Continental and Eastern [Whistle dropping from high to low] . . . right into the ground. I tell you, I fly a lot, and I don't want some cost-cutting corporation hiring minimum-wage controllers to handle my landings and take-offs.

As for highways, transportation officials say government doesn't have money to maintain them, but private firms could raise the funds by setting up toll booths all across America.

Are all these officials IQ-lly impaired? Obviously we'd still be paying for maintenance, plus the corporation's profits, fat executive salaries and other pricy add-ons. And privatizing would move the public yet another step away from decision-making on everything from potholes to highway safety.

"Privatization" is a desperate reach by clueless public officials for some "magic" elixir, and our experience with it has not generally been pretty. On everything from schools to prisons, privatizers typically low-ball their bid to win the contract, then proceed to cut service, cut employees, cut corners -- and finally come back to us with [Chorus: "Surprise!"] . . . cost overruns!

This is Jim Hightower saying . . . Privatization sounds good, but it amounts to little more than "Piratization." Our highways and airways can only be made better by adequate funding and good government -- not by simply passing the bucks to big corporations.

New York Times - October 1, 1993
Bilik, Al. "Privatization: Selling America To The Lowest Bidder."
Labor Research Review, #15

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